KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Dash cam videos will soon be a thing of the past in Knox County as the sheriff’s office transitions to using body cameras.
Some Knox County sheriff’s deputies were trained Tuesday on how to use the new body cameras.
Lt. Aaron Yarnell was one of the deputies receiving training on how to use the new body cam technology. He will be tasked with sharing what he learned with other deputies.
“Body cameras are an easy way to catch an officer’s first person view of what they are seeing, of what they are interacting with, not only for officer safety but for court purposes, but for public relations purposes. It’s just a great tool,” said Yarnell.
A number of law enforcement agencies attended Tuesday’s training demonstration to determine if they wanted to buy the equipment in the future. That’s something Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones has spent a good part of a year researching..
“With the incidents that have occurred lately, I think you will see a lot of police offices and sheriff’s offices going to these things,” said Jones.
The plan is within five years to have all 300 officers in the Knox County Sheriff’s Office using a body cam. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office was issued 80 body cameras Tuesday.
“We lose a lot of the view in a dash camera if the car is parked in the driveway and an incident occurs at the residence or a business. All we get is the audio and we see the video from the car camera that just shows the driveway,” said Jones..
The body cameras will be worn on an officer’s sunglasses or collar. Sheriff Jones says they will be turned on at the start of any law enforcement event, responding to a call or a traffic stop.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett believes body cam video will prevent law suits in the future.
“It’s a safety factor for law enforcement and the citizens. It backs up what folks say, so it’s going to save a lot of money on both the front end and the back end,” said Burchett.
The body cams are around $300 each. The sheriff says dash cams cost around $5,000 each.
The sheriff adds that while the body cams are an improvement from dash cam technology, there could still be issues. For example, he says a body cam could fall off or come unplugged in a scuffle or chase.